William Golding was born on September 19, 1911,
in Cornwall, England. He was interested in
becoming a writer since the age of twelve, but his
parents wanted him to study science. He wanted
his parents to be proud so he studied science
during his first year at Oxford, but began focusing
on English literature on his second year. After
graduating from Oxford, he worked as a theater
actor and director for a short time, wrote poetry,
and then became a schoolteacher. In 1940, shortly
after England entered World War II, he joined the
Royal Navy, where he served in command of a
rocket-launcher and participated in the invasion
of Normandy.
His experience in World War II had a great effect
on his view of humanity and the evils of which it
was capable. After the war, he resumed teaching
and started to write novels. His first and greatest
success came with Lord of the Flies, 1954, which
ultimately became a bestseller in both Britain and
the U.S. after more than twenty publishers
rejected it. The novels sales allowed him to retire
from teaching and devote himself fully to writing.
He wrote several more novels, notably Pincher
Martin, 1956, and a play, The Brass Butterfly,
1958. Although he never matched the popular and
critical success he enjoyed with Lord of the Flies,
he remained a respected and well-known author
for the rest of his life and received the Nobel
Prize for Literature in 1983. He died in 1993,
remembered as one of the most acclaimed writers
of the second half of the twentieth century.